Accepting Bitcoin is officially in vogue. Large sites from Wordpress to 4Chan have currently announced that they are now accepting Bitcoins. However, the decision to integrate Bitcoin into many services may come sooner than expected to some social networking sites. Already some 3rd party apps are infecting sites like a virus and creating unique, unexpected and possibly unwanted use cases.
Bitcointip allows Redditors to tip for comments (see infographic). By setting up an account with the bitcointip bot users can post messages such as "+tip 0.01 btc" to reward user subbmited links and comments. At a time when many developers are being locked out of social networking apis, the use of "bots" raises some interesting questions that Reddit and other sites will eventually have to answer. Do sites want to control the content and user experience, or do they want to serve as a platform for enabling a broader audience?
Already a backlash is brewing amongst some redditors who view the bitcointip bot as nothing more than cleverly disguised spam:
I think it's collaborative advertisement for bitcoins in disguise. They are known to advertise it a lot since if they succeed then they will become rich, sort of like members of a pyramid scheme. I mean come on, they give like a few cents when tipping, that's not enough to waste space in the comment section. (unless of course it was for advertisement...) The admins should ban it for spamming. -MestR
Whether bitcointip is good or bad is a matter for debate. It will be interesting to see how Reddit and others choose to deal with such novel uses of their communities. What do you think? Will Reddit eventually ban or embrace Bitcoin tips?
This incentivises good comments. It creates a reward for putting more effort into a post. What if being knowledgable and helpful were more profitable than spamming? What would that world look like?
answered 13 Dec '12, 18:20
At the current time, if you like someone's submission or comment, you can give them an upvote (which is just Internet bragging points), or give them Reddit gold (which is worth $4). If you want to give them something of different value, you don't have many other options. Say, you read someone's personal story about how life is constantly getting them down and you want to help them out by paying their next month's rent. You can try getting their information out of them, which might be inconvenient for them (they might be using a throwaway account and still wanting to avoid revealing their true identity). With Bitcoin, both parties can remain anonymous while the money is flowing through.
I understand that Reddit is a site that also needs to earn money, so I wouldn't mind if they incorporated their own tipping system with some small fees for using it. This might lower the amount of extra comments generated by people giving money to each other, as well as make such money donations more mainstream. For now, however, we have the bitcointip bot.
answered 14 Dec '12, 01:11